"Using state-of-the-art microsystems simulation, design and micro-engineering, the NMCEL project will result in a highly integrated and modular and low cost platform that is a high throughput micro-fluidic lab-on-a-chip and a sophisticated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) detector in one package, suitable for use in a wide-bore commercial NMR magnet. This unique platform targets the controlled in vivo NMR spectroscopy and imaging of the model organism C. elegans, for this purpose the high throughput micro-fluidic lab-on-a-chip has the necessary infrastructure to feed, hold, move and immobilise a large population of C. elegans on demand and over its lifecycle and lifetime, with operations synchronised with the remaining functions of the platform. In turn, the co-integrated NMR detector is specially adapted to the range of shapes of the nematode, and its motility, and is optimised with regard to NMR signal-to-noise ratio and spectral resolution. In order to attain high resolution, the NMR system is optimised for strong magnetic fields, through the computed layout of devices, the adaptation of microstructurable materials, and the design of electronics and control circuits. The targeted user of the platform is a C. elegans micro-biologist with a requirement to detect or discover small molecule (< 1000 Da) metabolites in vivo. High throughput in vivo metabolomic mapping, with a platform that generates molecular data on an individual-by-individual basis for populations of thousands of individuals, has the potential to open up a completely new window of research in systems biology. The NMCEL project aims to address this important step ahead."
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant